Stags’ boss Adam Murray believes new signing George Taft is ‘potentially one of the best left-sided defenders around’.
The 22-year-old former Burton Albion man put pen-to-paper on deal at One Call Stadium this afternoon after a recent spell at the Pirelli Stadium.
And manager Murray is pleased to get the signing of Taft completed after compiling his list of targets ‘early doors’.
“Well I think with the way that the situation with Ryan (Tafazolli) was unfolding as the season was going on, we needed to have some plans in place,” Murray said.
“We feel that in bringing in George is, potentially, one of the best left-sided defenders around. He’s only 22, already won League 2, got promoted from League 2, comes from a great pedigree, [I] watched him a lot at Leicester in their under 21s and then [he] went to Burton and had a great time.
“Taf had a bit of an injury last season so we had to make sure everything was okay on that front and we’ve come to a deal that we feel’s right for the player and right for the club and we can’t wait to get going.
“[He’s got] a superb left foot. His ability to play out from the back and his distribution forward is of a very high quality; he’s very intelligent, decent pace, reads the game well and demands his back four and his 18-yard box so we’re chuffed to bits to get this signing done, [I'm] really excited by this one and can’t wait to work with him.”
The former Leicester City Academy product is primarily a centre-half but can also play at left-back, however Murray confirmed that he has been brought in to ‘fight for a place at centre-half’, but feels that versatility is always a good trait to possess.
“When Jimmy (Floyd-Hasselbaink, former Burton Albion manager) did it at Burton first and put him at left-back in the promotion season, I watched him a few times because he had a good few appearances there and he was outstanding. It was surprising because someone so big playing at a full-back position, it’s not very often seen, but he was fantastic in that position and I think the ability to play in multi-positions – we’ve seen this season in our team and our squad already, it’s vitally important.”
Our 34-year-old manager revealed during yesterday's news conference that the club has triggered the option on goalkeeper Scott Shearer’s contract, meaning the Glaswegian stopper will be at One Call Stadium next season.
The gaffer also explained the situation regarding a number of players who are yet to commit their future to the club.
“I think Ryan’s (Tafazolli) decisions at the minute lie elsewhere. He’s away on holiday at the minute, I know there’s a few clubs in League 1 who have said they’re signing a left-sided centre-half when he gets back off holiday so I’m putting two and two together here and trying to work it out!
“We had options on everyone apart from Ryan and Reggie (Lambe), they were the only two who we didn’t have options on.
"Reggie’s got offers elsewhere. We’re still speaking to Reg. Reggie’s been super for us in the time he’s been here so we’ve put something on the table for him and we’ll see if he accepts it, but we’ve got targets.
"Obviously regards to Matty Blair, we decided not to take the option up on Matty; we offered him a deal and what I thought was value for the player and the output and Matty decided that he wanted to go somewhere else and that’s fine. We thank Matty for the work he put in and we move on."
You can view Adam Murray’s news conference, in full, on Stags Player HD.